China Prep follows five Chinese students through their final high-pressure year at an elite high school in Sichuan Province. Eighteen hundred students vie for spots in Beijing’s top two universities. Last year only 59 made it.
Studying seven days a week, the students’ lives are regimented almost every minute of the day as they prepare for the end-of-year exam that can determine their fate. For many students from poor or rural backgrounds, a strong performance on the test is the only way to climb the social ladder and excel without connections. Competition is fierce and the majority of high school seniors will be relegated to vocational schools.